The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 19, 2009
Governor's office: Whitman 10 percent layoff plan 'merely rhetoric'

We've been tracking Republican Meg Whitman's 2010 gubernatorial campaign as the candidate continues to talk about cutting the state workforce by 30,000 to 40,000 employees to help bring down the cost of California government.

She's also criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for sending layoff notices to just 5,000 state workers.

The administration has responded with some figures and a comment. The numbers:

  • 100,000: The number of state workers paid directly from the general fund who are directly under the governor's control.
  • $8.8 billion: Annual payroll for those 100,000 employees
  • $5.2 billion: Annual payroll for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • $1.8 billion: Annual payroll for Health and Human Services
  • 3600: CDCR employees given layoff notices (rough estimate)
  • 1000: HHS employees given layoff notices

The administration's point? That when you're talking about the general fund, you're talking mostly about CDCR and HHS, and those are the departments targeted for layoffs.

While Whitman talks about cutting 10 percent everywhere (although the ax wouldn't fall as heavily on law enforcement and education), cutting positions outside the general fund won't shore it up. Whether, say, the UC system should be smaller is a separate question from what needs to be done to fix the general fund.

As to Whitman's comments that the governor should have sent out more layoff notices, Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said, "The governor is always looking to cut the size of state government, but doing so requires a plan, not merely campaign rhetoric."

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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